Finding good childcare as we all know is hard. Accepting and trusting someone to look after your children on a one to one basis seems even harder.
I remember how hard it was when I went back to work after Daughter No. 1 and how tough it was to walk out of that door and leave my little one behind having been the main person to look after her for the whole of her life so far. I’m not sure who had more separation anxiety: her or me! And yet, after a week or so back at work I felt completely at ease. In fact even better than that I had some freedom back to be (almost!) the person I was pre-maternity leave and when I got home the house was tidy, the washing sorted and my daughter fed, washed and ready for bed. In summary I was one of the lucky ones; I had a great nanny!
Now a nanny is relatively easy to find but a great nanny is like gold dust.
Firstly and most importantly you have to trust them and you have to get on with them. That doesn’t mean you have to be bosom buddies – you are, after all, employee / employer but achieving a good working relationship is essential. If you are a control freak and your nanny is slightly more, shall we say, laid back then it isn’t going to work. If you are used to giving the orders but your nanny has plenty of years’ experience and is used to looking after children in a certain way, then look elsewhere quickly. That is why the interview process is so important. If you can ask the right questions and talk on a one to one basis without the children around, then you should be able to get a good measure of the person you want as your nanny.
A great nanny will not bat an eyelid when you ask whether she can also do the children’s laundry and change their beds. It’s all part of “nursery duties”. And after all whilst she’s hanging your children’s clothes out, she will not mind if your clothes are there too. A fabulous nanny will not mind running errands for you like going to the post office because she can make that part of a game with your children and teach them how to buy stamps in the shop. An awesome nanny will be flexible and understand if your client / boss wants you to work that extra hour or two and therefore she has to put your children to bed.
Such a nanny will not mind because in turn you have to be a great boss too.
Top tips to being a good boss include:
- Be flexible and considerate in turn: If she needs to start late one day as she has a dentist’s appointment then you have to be flexible and considerate of her request just as she would be flexible for you. Respect, trust and consideration are really the most important aspects to maintaining a great relationship between you and your nanny. That includes paying your nanny well and on time.
- Don’t undermine her authority but work as a team: If your nanny reports bad behaviour, if you ignore it, your child may come to understand that the nanny’s reports to you have no consequences for him or her. Not only will this teach your child that he or she can act as he or she pleases when nanny’s in charge, it will undermine the nanny’s position in your household. This may upset the nanny, as well as render her ineffectual vis-a-vis your child.
- Be appreciative – say thank you! This can’t be stressed enough. Thanking your nanny shows that you care, which essentially teaches your children good manners and more importantly, lets your nanny know that you think she is doing a good job.
I realised how amazing my nanny was after she left when I went on my second maternity leave. It soon became clear that I was going to need another nanny on a part time basis so that I could run my business but could I find someone who was half as good as my old one? No way! There was nothing actually wrong with anybody that I interviewed or the nanny who worked with me temporarily. But they just didn’t match up to my first nanny. The house just didn’t run as smoothly, the children just weren’t as settled and I felt a lot less supported. However never fear because this story has a happy ending! Because it turned out she missed us too and when her temporary post finished, she came back!
A great nanny is definitely worth her weight in gold so if you find her, treat her well and don’t let her go!
- 10 Ways to Tell if your Nanny Loves your Children (urbandaddy.wordpress.com)
- Should You Hire a Nanny If You Work from Home? (youngworkathomemoms.wordpress.com)